For those who suffer from PTSD the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) wrote a wonderful article about 27 things you need to know about PTSD. Amongst those are:
- No matter how long it’s been since your trauma, treatment can help.
- Sexual assault is more likely to result in symptoms of PTSD than are other types of trauma, including combat.
- Social support is one of the greatest protective factors against developing PTSD after trauma.
- Research suggests that social support is an even more important resilience factor for women than men.
- Trouble sleeping is a core feature of PTSD, so it is important to address sleep problems in PTSD treatment.
- Getting help for PTSD early can prevent problems from expanding to other parts of your life.
- Evidence-based treatments for PTSD include psychotherapy (or “counseling”) and medications.
- Many people with PTSD also experience chronic pain or other physical health symptoms.
- PTSD often co-occurs with depression or other mental health symptoms.
It is also important to know that those with PTSD cannot help their behavior. The trauma that sufferers of PTSD have endured has changed them. This makes it difficult for them to function as “normal” people do. They do not hate those around them, they actually need you to help them. PTSD creates a sense of isolation, because of this your presence matters to them. They are coping with their problems and at times it makes it difficult for them to control their behavior. Because of this they cannot just “get over it”, they have to work through this and fight their demons.
Knowledge is power, and the more people that know these things the more we can help those who suffer with PTSD.
Awareness starts with one step. Help spread awareness one step at a time.
It may seem like snake oil, but a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that spending 90 minutes on a hike actually reduces ruminations. This is wonderful news for those suffering from PTSD and Mental Illness.
How does hiking help? An article from Collective-Evolution brakes it down. Essentially, spending, “90 minutes in a natural environment reported lower levels of rumination and they also had reduced neural activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain related to mental illness”. That is an amazing finding. By going for a short hike, you will reduce the amount of negative and obsessive thoughts. This in part will help reduce anxiety many with mental illness struggle with. This article is a great read.
Hiking is also good for children with ADHD. It appears that by being outdoors, it reduces the symptoms on children with the disorder. Getting outdoors and taking a hike is a great way to reduce symptoms of mental illness, get fit and get the little ones to be more focused.
The Trek4PTSD is focused on raising awareness for PTSD and Mental Illness one step at a time. However, it is not by coincidence that we chose hiking as the method to raise awareness. As previously stated, hiking helps with mental illness and what better way to raise awareness than to practice what we preach. In addition, the journey of those who suffer from mental illness is very similar to the journey hikers have to go through. Both must do it by themselves with the support of others, both will be faced with difficult sections and harsh conditions, and both will want to quit. Hiking and mental illness are both a kin to each other in many ways and this is why the Trek4PTSD exists.
Take the first step to raise awareness. Become a Trekker for the Trek4PTSD and help raise awareness one step, one mile, one trail, one person(you) at a time.